Connecticut is turning the old ban into a transparency measure

The Connecticut state capital in Hartford, where lawmakers passed a law requiring colleges to report their past admissions data.

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Connecticut lawmakers will not move forward with a proposed ban on legacy admissions preferences proposed by the committee in March. Instead, the state Senate passed a bill that would require colleges to report legacy admissions data to the legislature. The House of Representatives will vote on the measure next week.

The change to the bill follows a months-long battle between lawmakers and private colleges opposed to government intervention, including Yale and Fairfield universities, where the most recent undergraduate programs are nearly 15 percent senior.

Connecticut would have been the second state to ban preferential treatment of relatives of alumni in both public and private institutions; Maryland was first last week, although its most selective private institution, Johns Hopkins University, stopped the practice in 2020. Two other states, Colorado and Virginia, ban legacy preferences at public but not private institutions.

The bill was one of many legislative attacks on alumni preferences that emerged after last June's Supreme Court ruling banning affirmative action, which sparked a wave of public sentiment against the practice.

Connecticut state Sen. Derek Slap, who co-sponsored the old ban law, said Inside Higher Ed In March, he said that while he was confident the time had come for such a law, he knew there was a chance it would be negotiated down to a transparency measure, even after it passed the Education Committee by an 18-4 vote be.

It's a fate familiar to long-standing abolitionists across the country. After the Varsity Blues scandal sparked an outcry in college admissions in 2019, a California bill banning legacy preferences appeared to be gaining unstoppable momentum. But after the bill sat in committee for a year, state lawmakers instead converted it into a transparency bill, which they passed in 2020.

In many other states, including New York and Massachusetts, bills to ban legacies at public and private colleges are still being considered.

Anna Harden

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